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Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age$
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Jennifer Stromer-Galley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731930

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731930.001.0001

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1996: Mass-Mediated Campaigning in the Nascent Internet Age

1996: Mass-Mediated Campaigning in the Nascent Internet Age

(p.21) 2 1996: Mass-Mediated Campaigning in the Nascent Internet Age
Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age

Jennifer Stromer-Galley

Oxford University Press

The 1996 presidential campaigns were the first to experiment with digital communication technologies (DCTs). Democratic president Bill Clinton and his challenger, Republican Bob Dole, built the first presidential campaign websites, and their experimentation established the core genre of the campaign website. Ironically, it was the seventy-three-year-old Republican who had the more cutting-edge website, while the president’s site was more cautious—reflecting a pattern in future elections in which challengers are more forward thinking and experimental than incumbents. They have more to lose when experimenting with untested communication technologies. The campaigns demonstrated the mass-media paradigm of campaigning, while dabbling with digital media. The absence of human-interactive affordances in their DCTs underscores that the underlying attitude typical campaigns hold toward citizens is that they are to be managed and controlled, persuaded but not empowered except in the most limited sense.

Keywords:   1996 presidential campaign, Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, digital politics, political communication, Internet, World Wide Web, mass media

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